Bella’s Picks With Christopher Obetz

Hard it is to imagine the summer is winding down. Where did it go? Bella is already bracing herself for the goodbyes to her many friends. Even her short beach hair cut is starting to grow out into her autumn locks of gold.

As much fun as the summer has been, Bella constantly thinks about the challenges of the shelter as well as the many successes. Just last week, 15 animals were adopted. How great is that! When Bella heard the news, she got one of her big ear-to-ear smiles thinking about how happy her fellow friends would soon be. She was also delighted to hear that so many of her people friends were reaching out to the shelter to lend a paw. I mentioned to Bella that four of the adoptions were dogs rescued from the Lancaster County puppy mills. Bella barked up and remind me to encourage her readers to come to the screening of Madonna of the Mills at the Bay Street Theatre on September 10 in Sag Harbor. It will be a perfect opportunity to meet other like-minded animal lovers and learn about ways people can help change animal lives for the better. [expand]

To keep the smile on Bella’s face, I wanted to share a special moment I had this week with her mom while playing bridge. Our hostess, and ever so chic bridge guru, Rosalie Brinton, couldn’t wait to share her shelter adoption story. Rosalie, a life-long animal advocate, attended the Unconditional Love Benefit in July. At that time, she met Lottie; a classic pit bull terrier mix. Rosalie, as she would say “fell madly in love.” Although, not the right time for her to adopt for herself, she couldn’t help herself but to find a home for Lottie.

Ed, the shelter’s Executive Director told Rosalie all the details about Lottie. “One of the sweetest dogs we’ve ever had. She’s a real tail wagger – loves all other dogs and adores children. She’s worked with physically disabled youth and is a real winner.” Those words became a private advertisement Rosalie placed to help find Lottie a home. It worked! Rosalie was simply delighted to learn this week that Lottie found a family and now can share her many gifts with them. Of course, hearing this, Bella barked with excitement and can’t wait to thank Rosalie personally when she stops over for a round of bridge.

On to even more good news, the McLaughlin Men’s store in Southampton had a fun contest where people submitted photos of their dogs and the community voted on the best of…there was a registration fee and McLaughlin matched the fee dollar for dollar to donate to the shelter. How generous and creative. Bella knows McLaughlin well, as she gets a big pat whenever passing by, maybe a bowl of water and always a fashion tip or two.

With all the good news, it was time for me to talk to Bella about some of the serious challenges facing the shelter and discuss the day-to-day operations. I reminded Bella, when the town no longer had money in its operating budget to continue the services of the shelter, some (angelic) individuals stepped in to create a private foundation to ensure the shelter would continue. Today, the shelter is fully staffed and operated with gifts from private donations. There have been amazing additions; a screened porch for the cats to look out into the world beyond cages and playrooms, expanded training for volunteers so more dogs get needed one-on-one attention, programs for the community, and a warmer, cleaner  environment for all the animals with double the staff to ensure each animal has the best life possible while waiting for a new home.

Bella also reminded me that the shelter also houses and cares for the animals found by the town’s animal control. No animal gets turned away! The shelter pays 100% for their care. All of this takes place due to the generosity of individuals who love animals and could not leave the town without a shelter.

Bella, not trying to be too cliché, said it takes more than a village, it takes an entire town and community to ensure the welfare of those animals, who have no one to protect and love them.

Now, after our weekly shelter catch-up, Bella decided it was time to head to the beach, enjoy the warm surf and maybe meet a few new friends.

Don’t forget the shelter Thrift Shop, 85-87 Jobs Lane, is open seven days a week and is having its summer blow- out with everything 50% off. And, ALWAYS visit the web site, www.southamptonanimalshelter.com for adoption news, event news and what’s happening at the shelter.

Pay It Forward – lend a paw to the Southampton Animal Shelter and your community.

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